No previous age studied the art of communication as ours has. Whole professions are dedicated to getting out the message. We are urged to work out the implications of the dictum “the medium is the message.” We are warned against thinking that what is clear in our own minds will necessarily become clear to others if we speak about it. We must choose our words with care, for we may cause misunderstanding if we use the wrong words. In our seminaries the departments of practical theology give a good deal of attention to the way our young men and women try to convey their message.

Underlying all this there is often the implication that if we communicate well we will solve most of our problems, including the most serious ones. For instance, we take it as basic that in the modern world all nations wish to live at peace. But we speak many languages and we do not understand one another very well. There is always the danger that the leaders of one nation will take the sort of action that will inflame the leaders of another in part at least because neither understands what the other is really saying.

We believe that in industrial disputes the basic interests of all are best furthered by industrial prosperity. When there are strikes and lockouts, we feel this must be because people have not really considered what the other side is saying. So with local disputes and with what takes place within the family. We are not naive enough to believe that all our problems would be solved if we communicated better. But we hold that many of them would, or would at least be less serious. Communication is a most important art.

I am not in disagreement with much of this. I am as much in favor of improving our communications as anyone. I agree that often ...

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